Perry defeats Xavier, moves one step closer
to a championship
November 18, 2020 by Lindsay Zienty, Arizona State
The Perry Pumas faced a familiar opponent in the 6A girls volleyball
quarterfinals Tuesday night. Xavier and Perry previously met in October,
when the Pumas swept Xavier 3-0, although they were not going to let
overconfidence be their downfall. This time, the top-seeded Pumas beat the
Gators, 3-0, to move one more step toward a championship season.
Perry captains Jenna Heller and Ella Rud prepared their teammates by
reminding them this was a new game and atmosphere considering it was the
playoffs. I think we were confident, but we still went in with the
mindset that every set is 0-0. It is set one every set. We go in with
confidence because every player needs that, but we also are reminding
ourselves that this is quarterfinals, we got to kill it, Rud said.
Xavier, seeded No. 8, was known for the tough angles they were able to hit
from and their strong middles. It was key for the Pumas to block and
counterattack from every spot on the court.
Xavier likes to run pushes, ones, and slides, so in practice, we focused
a lot on running on middles and hitting from both directions, but most of
all just staying cool, calm, and collected on the court, Rud said.
Senior outside hitter Alyssa Montoya came up big for the Pumas after
spending a lot of hours in practice this season perfecting her blocking
technique. I have been working on my blocking all season. My hands tend
to drift. The pressing angle worked really well tonight and that is how we
get stuffs, Montoya said.
Heller, the Pumas starting setter, was explosive on the block as well and
key for creating scoring opportunities for her teammates. I have been
working on my offense, and when I am front row dumping or even back row, I
think that holds a block and creates more opportunities for the hitters,
Hellers work paid off and showcased just how deadly the Pumas
setter-hitter connection is. She also highlighted how important of a role
her co-captain, Rud, played in Tuesdays game.
Ella kept her confidence and was swinging amazingly. She led our team,
Perry has consistently been able to get on top early in sets. If we win
the first two sets we cant let down the third set, we have to be just as
strong, because that is what happened in the state finals last year,
They credited their coaches for instilling a humble mindset that reminds
them to prepare for each set as if the game was still 0-0.
Every set we win, our coaches say it is a new set. We need to play every
point super hard, Montoya said.
Perry advanced to the semifinals where they will host No. 4 seed Mesa
Mountain View Thursday. The Pumas went 3-0 in their previous matchup
against the Toros.
We have played Mountain View, they were very scrappy. They love to swing
high hands, so we have to keep our block strong, Rud said.
Perry completes perfect volleyball
NOVEMBER 04, 2020 by Les Willsey, AZPreps365
#1 Perry put the finishing touches on a perfect 2020 regular season with
four-set victory in impressive fashion over #12 Sunnyslope, 25-9, 18-25,
25-12, 25-15 in a 6A match at Perry High.
The Pumas, last season's 6A runner-up, were nearly flawless in the opening
set, tumbled in the second to the more focused Vikings before getting back
to form for a 3-1 triumph.
"We were strong the first set and kind of turned the switch off in the
second," Perry coach Fred Mann said. "Sunnyslope got back at us in the
second, but I liked how we bounced back to more how we play in the third
and fourth sets."
Perry (15-0) will have time off from matches while the state tournament
pairings are assembled later this week and play-in games take place on
Nov. 10. The Pumas won't play again until Nov. 14. Sunnyslope, which moved
up to 6A this season, won the truncated 6A Southwest Region. The Vikings
won the 5A title last season, but ran into many of 6A's top teams the last
couple weeks. Prior to Wednesday's loss, the Vikings lost four of six
matches to #3 Highland, #5 Sandra Day O'Connor, #7 Xavier Prep and #9
Corona del Sol.
Wednesday night's opening set was a clinic by Perry and there was little
Sunnyslope could do to defend. The Pumas registered 18 kills and were
machine-like in all aspects. Outside hitters Alyssa Montoya, Ella Rud and
Avery Burks combined for 13 of those kills - 5, 4 and 4, respectively.
Montoya and Rud finished with match-high 17 kills apiece while Burks hit
double-digits with 12 and middle Makayla Long added eight. Libero Jordan
Suan was steady defensively with 24 digs and Jenna Heller amassed 48
assists. McKenna Dressel and Long posted four and three blocks,
Sunnyslope shook off Perry's first-set prowess responding with its best
set of the match in the second, much to the admiration of coach Amber
LeTarte. Thye Vikings had five players contribute on the attack in the set
led by Alexia Scott, Avery Kronholm and Michelle Jung. Those three and
Laylah Daniel all finished the match with six kills each. Scott led in
digs with 11 and Jung managed two blocks.
Perry wasn't as strong in the third and fourth sets as it was in the
first, but was still plenty good to finish off the match with little
resistance. Rud had five kills and Long three in the third set. Rud and
Montoya collected four kills each in the fourth set.
Perry digs deep to upend Hamilton VB
in five sets
September 30, 2020 by Les Willsey, AZPreps365
Perry girls volleyball coach Fred Mann wasn't necessarily resigned to his
team bowing to Hamilton with the Pumas in a deep hole in the fourth set of
Wednesday night's 6A Premier Region match. The Pumas needed to deny at
least five match points to survive.
Perry, down 2-1 in sets and trailing 24-19 in the fourth, was indeed in
trouble. Mann reluctantly asked for a timeout.
"I'd never called a timeout in my career down 24-19," Mann said. "I
learned as a younger coach you don't wait to 24 to take time."
Whether or not that break in play was a turning point is up for debate,
but Perry delivered the fourth set and claimed the match in five. Scores
were 21-25, 25-21, 18-25, 27-25 and 15-13 before an entertained COVID-19
gathering at Hamilton High.
Hamilton (3-1) enjoyed the best of the action through nearly the first
four sets. Perry (5-0) won the the second set to guarantee the match went
four, but was handled in the third and looked about done in the fourth.
Hamilton's first of six match-points in the fourth set came out of the
timeout with Huskies' standout junior hitter Jordan Middleton serving for
the match. Middleton, who led all players on the attack with 27 kills,
served into the net. A Hamilton hitting error plus a Rud kill and two aces
from Perry's Layla Handley forged a 24-24 tie. Handley committed a service
error giving Hamilton its next match-point chance. Perry's Maddie
Mayginnis and Avery Burks added kills giving the Pumas their first
match-point attempt. A Hamilton hitting error brought on a fifth set.
Perry used its seniors to advantage in the final set getting a pair of
kills each from outside hitters Ella Rudd and Alyssa Montoya and setter
Jenna Heller. The Pumas jumped to three-point leads (7-4 and 8-5) only to
see Hamilton edge in front 11-9 on one of Middleton's final two kills of
the evening. The final tie of the set was at 12. Perry finished with a
Mayginnis kill and two from Rud, including the match clincher.
"Perry handled the pressure better late than we did," Hamilton coach
Sharon Vanis said. "They have a lot of seniors in their lineup. Their
Perry, which didn't lose a set in its first four matches, had three
hitters with double-digit kills -- Rud (16), Montoya (11) and sophomore
Burks (10). Heller collected 45 assists and Mann gave a huge shout out to
junior libero Jordan Suan (34 digs). Senior middles Makayla Long (5
blocks) and Mayginnis (3 blocks) had their moments.
Along with her 27 kills, MIddleton checked in with 17 digs one back of the
18 from libero Tatum Thomas. Hamilton also had two more hitters in double
figures in kills - Jahara Campbell (18) and Micah Gryniewicz (13). Setter
Diana Ethridge handed out 57 assists.
Perry plays again Thursday hosting region-rival Chandler. That will
complete the Pumas' first round of region match-ups with Basha, Xavier,
Hamilton, Chandler. The Pumas will be off until after fall break after
that. Hamilton visits Xavier on Thursday.
Perry opens VB season with flourish
September 23, 2020 by Les Willsey, AZPreps365
Perry's volleyball team had to wait an extra day to start the delayed 2020
season, but they showed Wednesday evening it was worth the wait.
The Pumas began a new quest for the top prize in 6A with several holdovers
from last year. They took the measure of host Highland convincingly,
25-18, 25-10 and 25-18.
Perry, which had several match-point chances to win and sweep the 6A title
last year, looked in midseason form with two-thirds of last year's roster
"I was happy to get away with a win, this is not an easy place to play,"
Perry coach Fred Mann said. "We did play very well, but there are things
to work on. Our experience showed."
Senior outside hitter Ella Rud paced a varied attack for Perry with 14
kills and added three aces. Another senior - outside Alyssa Montoya -
stepped into a bigger role and posted 11 kills. Senior middles Makayla
Long and Maddie McGinnis, who also has a larger role, checked in with six
kills apiece. Seven different players contributed kills. Lat year's
All-Premier Region setter and senior Jenna Heller dished out 36 assists.
Junior libero Jordan Suan led in digs with 15. Suan, Rud, Heller and Long
are the returning starters.
Highland (1-1), lost in the state semis to Perry last year. The Hawks
(1-1) opened the season Tuesday with a 3-1 triumph over Mountain Pointe
Coach Jordan Neal had some top-flight returners as well. Highland featured
three key seniors. An all-Region setter of its own (Central) in Natalie
Palmer, all-region outside hitter Samia Bhakta and outside Kennedy
Williams. Wednesday night was an uphill fight from the get-go for the
"Perry is one of the best teams, maybe the best and we had no answer,"
Neal said. "They were in system all night. We couldn't find a way to
disrupt them. They passed well, and dug just about everything. I don't
know if there was anything we could have done."
Bhakta labored for nine kills. She and Williams added seven digs apiece.
With schools mostly playing three matches a week, it's back to action for
both on Thursday. Perry hosts Basha in a rematch of last year's 6A title
game and Highland visits Corona del Sol.